In the framework of the Water@School project, pupils and teachers of the Viennese school GRG21 are investigating the quality of drinking water in their school building. Their activities are supported by experts of the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology and the Open Science Association.
The scientific aim of the project is to establish a so-called Water Safety Plan designed to ensure a sufficient drinking water quality in the building. In this context the building’s water infrastructure is screened for potential threats to water safety by regularly monitoring chemical and microbiological parameters during a comprehensive 12-month sampling campaign. This will among other things allow for the assessment of water quality effects due to a seasonal water use pattern (typical for schools).
All key project activities, such as sampling, surveying the water distribution network, designing a project logo, generating website contributions and developing a questionnaire to evaluate water use practices, are performed with an extensive involvement of pupils. In order to familiarize with microbiological work practices in general as well as with water analysis in particular, several school classes were participating in a dedicated laboratory exercise at the Vienna Open Lab. In addition hand-held measuring devices for the determination of physico-chemical water parameters (such as temperature, conductivity, …) have been procured within the project to allow pupils to perform regular water sampling and collect data for further scientific investigation.
The first Water Safety Day organized at the end of the past school year (2014/15) at GRG21, provided a platform for the pupils to present the new knowledge acquired within the Water@School project. Another similar event is foreseen to terminate the project in summer 2016.